Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Work Being Shown at Orland Park Library

In conjunction with my month-long exhibition, Orland Park Library’s Outreach Services is sponsoring a Meet the Artist night on Friday, September 4th, 2009 beginning at 7pm. In addition, I will present my talk, “Aging with Dignity and Compassion” on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 beginning at 7pm.


For the last year, I have been grappling with the idea of aging and connecting that to my artwork. This new artistic direction came about when I started caring for my grandmother, Mandora Gibbs, in the summer of 2008. I hated the personal care and was somewhat embarrassed by it all...but I cherished singing hymns with her or having her ask for more strawberry jello or black walnut ice cream.

After painting grandmother several times, I focused my artistic energies on capturing fleeting moments with her. I had no idea she’d leave us this past February.

Fleeting. Changing. Temporal. I found that with my experience with grandma. I also found that same experience in my recent trip to Saugatuck, MI at Oxbow. The sun was there and then it wasn’t. Shadows moved across the space with the clouds. I had to paint, design and carve out negative spaces that moved.

Here are more Saugatuck pictures and a resulting painting from looking at the land near home - Yankee Woods in Oak Forest.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mmm! Oxbow School of Art in Saugatuck, MI.

Mmm! Ox-Bow, school of art and artists’ residency. Good views. Yummy food. Soulful people.

Oxbow is in Saugatuck, MI and is affiliated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It has served as a retreat for visual artists since 1910. This past week, I took a drawing/painting class with New York artist, Jimmy Wright. He pushed me and challenged me in significant ways - allowing me to create some paintings that are precious to me.

From my journal:
No fear. That's what I say. Fagettabout it. It's Wednesday. I'm enjoying myself immensely. Finally a compliment from Jimmy Wright. So glad. I don't know him, but his eyes are flavorful. I'm up. Showered and dressed. Hair washed. Clean. I'm happy. Released. I'm blessed, so blessed. I can support myself. Breath. Breathing is good. Salads. Don't freakin' overeat already. OK. Arr. The only black woman here...

Here are some views of Oxbow and my first painting. Well not exactly - I had actually spent a day painting a still life of peaches which Jimmy abhorred. The next day he said, "No more peaches." He suggested I get out into the land. So this is actually my first finished landscape painting using the techniques he taught us.

More to come...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Five More Reasons for Saugatuck

One more week until Saugatuck. My supplies for my Saugatuck Michigan trip arrived this week. One shipment came early in the morning via Fedex and one shipment came this afternoon from UPS. I'm so excited. I allowed Kayla my 15 year old to open my packages so she could share in the excitement and pop the bubble wrap - something she likes to do. Watercolor paper...12 bottles of Dr. Ph. Martins India ink...Rembrandt and Sennelier pastels. These are like a scapel in a surgeons hands, a ball in an athletes hands - tools of my trade. These supplies bring me closer to my Michigan painting trip and also closer to getting more paint stains on my hands. The paint stains mean I'm working. I've concluded that there are five more reasons to keep painting (and to take this trip):

5) I get to learn, practice and make mistakes - just like in kindergarten.

4) My girls (Kayla and Imani) get to see me living my dream and thereby will more easily live theirs as well.

3) God gave me a gift and I get to honor him by using it.

2) I also honor the memory of Suzie James - my ancestor who was a slave - by pursuing creativity which flows through my family's genes.

and lastly, drum roll please...the my top reason for the continued pursuit of this is:

1) I can paint in the Haas painting studio at 12:56 AM in my pajamas, with rollers in my hair and gospel music in the background. Life IS Good.

My latest creation - Apples for Lauren - an oil portrait commission for Mia is in this post. I started this many weeks ago, but got stumped on one of the faces. After much prayer and practice, I finished it.